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January 12, 2011

Vol 37 • No 19

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Try, try again

The politics aren't favorable, but the facts say a 2008 compromise didn't put a big enough severance tax on natural gas production.

2011 Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase Semi-Finalists

We've got the final roster for the 2010 Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase and boy, it's a doozy of a lineup.

Surprise: LR Airport commissioners reappointed

For the first-rate they've done overseeing the Little Rock National Airport, Robert East and Tom Schueck were reappointed to the Little Rock Airport Commission tonight byMayor Mark Stodola and the appointments were confirmed by the City Board of Directors.

Philly's finest

Real deal cheese steak, lasagna at Rocky's in NLR.

Demonizing policy

The second impulse, after horror, at the assassinations in Arizona had to be, in most places, "Thank goodness it was out there and not here." It could have been, you know.

Whose ox is being sacred?

Sen. Mark Pryor learns quickly and wrongly. Because Arkansas just elected an extreme conservative to join Pryor, the senior senator has decided to go mean himself.

Eye on Arkansas, Jan. 12


Had we won last week's BCS bowl game, I still would've written an indictment of the BCS this week, so please take only, say, half of this column as my residual bitterness.

In Brief, Jan. 13-15

William Blackart and Adam Faucett at White Water Tavern, Joe Sundell at Pizza D'Action, Adema at Juanita's, Lucero at Maxine's, Arkansas River Blues Society at Parrot Beach Cafe and more.

Judicial rumors

Now that Mark Pryor is Arkansas's senior senator, scuttlebutt has changed in regards to pending federal judicial vacancies in Arkansas.

2011 resolved

I'm going to do my best this year to remember more of what I have to look up so I won't have to look it up. I'm always having to look up something that I looked up a week ago, or five minutes ago.

Home run

What a great issue you gave your readers just before Christmas!  I don't know which essay to put first, but everything printed on the opinion pages was wise, insightful, and instructive — a home run with all the bases loaded.

Country comeback

Paltrow impresses in 'Country Strong.'

The Observer, Jan. 12

The Observer wasn't the only person stopped dead in their tire tracks on Lee Street by the giant rainbow-colored hand giving the peace symbol to the world, nor the only one who photographed it.

Orval, Jan. 12, 2011

'Cell' phones now a problem in Arkansas

Mara Leveritt reports that the Arkansas Department of Correction confiscated 277 contraband cell phones in prison units in 2010, about a quarter of them in the Varner Unit, which operates the top security Supermax Unit.

There's always next year

I haven't even spoken to my friends. I ignored all the teary empty nonsense of postgame coverage. I didn't sign into Twitter for a week. Anyway, the game was on a loop in my head.

This Modern World, Jan. 12, 2011

The To-Do List, Jan. 12-15

Madball at Downtown Music Hall, Reel Big Fish at Juanita's, Honky at Downtown Music Hall, Oaklawn Opening Weekend at the Oaklawn Jockey Club, 'Speech and Debate' opens at The Weekend Theater, Reckless Kelly at Stickyz and Travis Porter at Clear Channel Metroplex.

The Televisionist, Jan. 4

On "My Strange Addiction," "The Vice Guide to Everything" and "The Onion Sportsdome."

The Week That Was, Jan. 5-11

Good week: snow, David O. Dodd, Elana Wills. Bad week: America, gun nuts, House Speaker Robert Moore.

What's Cookin', Jan. 12

Restaurants participating in Argenta Restaurant Week are offering special two-course lunches and three-course dinners for $8 and $25, respectively, through Saturday, Jan. 22.

Words, Jan. 12

Thanks to recent articles in the newspaper, I now know what to call a person from the Ivory Coast, should I ever bump into one.

Coming culture

What to look forward to in 2011

A&E News, Jan. 12

The 2011 Arkansas Times Musicians Showcase is ready to kick off its 12th year with one of the best lineups we've ever had.

The sexual offender list

Who's on it and why it is complicated.

New high profile cookbooks and Arkansas history books.

P. Allen Smith and Maya Angelou, two Arkansas celebrities perhaps not thought of primarily as chefs, released cookbooks late last year.

Give to the Rep

A confession: I plunked down $5 last week when the Megamillions lottery exceeded $300 million. Turns out I was following a well-established national pattern.

A highway tax increase? Seriously?

That is surely why House Speaker-designate Robert Moore of Arkansas City continues to talk about a highway tax program for this legislative session now upon us.

Winning the gun debate

Noise and lobby intimidation help win political battles, the gun lobby demonstrates. It also might not hurt if the other side shuts up in the face of the gale.

An empty world

The continuing examinations of the life of Jared Loughner don't make me angrier, they make me sadder.

Wednesday To-Do: Madball

Essential NYC hardcore punk band Madball comes to Downtown Music Hall.

Shoot 'em up nation

This story from the South Carolina Free Times leaves me speechless. A gun company engraves the words "You lie" on a semi-automatic rifle component, to honor Congressman Joe Wilson for insulting the president of the United States.

Death at the Zoo

Twins born to the chimpanzee Judy at the Little Rock Zoo in December have died, the Zoo announced today.

Lottery director on thin ice: Updated

The Arkansas Lottery Commission will meet today. On the agenda is a discussion of an evaluation of the lottery's director, Ernie Passailaigue.

Last night: Ben Nichols

Ben Nichols played a low-key, in-store show yesterday evening at Arkansas CD and Record Exchange in North Little Rock.

More on Smithsonian censorship

Chronicle of Philanthropy writer fears a precedent set.

Pelphrey's tragic bond with two other SEC coaches

A Yahoo article today details the tragic connection Arkansas basketball coach John Pelphrey, Florida's Billy Donovan and Alabama's Anthony Grant share: All three of the coaches, who worked together at Florida in the early and mid-part of last decade, have wives who lost children during childbirth.

Rebecca Sittler Schrock: "A Spectacle and Nothing Strange"

The University of Arkansas at Little Rock opens an exhibit of work by the California photographer today.

"Women Call for Peace: Global Vistas"

Opening in Gallery I of UALR today: An exhibit of work by 13 big name artists.

Do you Microplane?

Great piece a reader just pointed us to in yesterday's New York Times about Russellville-based Grace Manufacturing, makers of the Microplane line of kitchen tools that've been widely embraced and often rapturously praised within the foodie world.

That's all she wrote

Two items before we turn it over to you

Today on Twitter: Beth Ditto, Ben Nichols, 'James Brown!'

A rundown of today's Tweets from Rock Candy.

Passailaigue survives, again

Lottery commissioners met behind closed doors for over three hours this afternoon to evaluate the performance of Lottery Director Ernie Passailaigue. When the commission finally came out of executive session, Commission Chair Dianne Lamberth said the commission had taken no action.

Thursday: Adam Faucett, Good Time Ramblers, Steve Winter

Searcy rock outfit and winner of Alice 107.7's Battle of the Bands 3 Miles From Providence takes to ASU-Beebe's Owen Center Theater, 7:30 p.m., $10 general, $5 seniors, free for students and faculty.

Homicide on Chenal

Little Rock Police report there was a homicide last night at 15000 Chenal Parkway, which Google Maps tells us is The Fountains at Chenal apartment complex.

Holmes the one?

Morris Holmes will be the LRSD's interim superintendent, replacing Linda Watson, Cynthia Howell reports in this morning's Dem-Gaz (subscription required).

Thursday To-Do: Reel Big Fish

Third-wave ska supermen Reel Big Fish return to Juanita's.

Take the train

A local steamhead has written in to seek help in winning the vote to have a special Union Pacific excursion train come to Little Rock.

Smartphone policy not so smart

Rep. Clark Hall's (D-Malvern) announcement in yesterday's House State Agencies Committee meeting that he would ban the use of smartphones for sending texts, emails or tweets has caused quite a stir. Hall also raised the question of whether the committee's meetings should be live-streamed using technology that was installed last year at the cost of over $300,000. T

Burger joint of the week: Benson's Grill

We’ve talked about breakfast at the 24 hour Fort Smith mainstay before, but Benson’s carries a lot more — like appetizers, plate dinners and fried things. And several burgers, too.

Oaklawn pushes back opening day

Officials at Oaklawn have decided to cancel tomorrow's opening day program due to the weather and track conditions. Racing will begin on Saturday instead.

'You lie' gun sales halted

CNN reports that the company that was selling special edition gun parts engraved with the words "You Lie" has called off its sales.

Oaklawn moves Opening Day

Oaklawn officials push back Opening Day 2011 to Saturday. Weather cited.

Yet another schedule change for W. Memphis report

The CNN special on the West Memphis Three we've mentioned several times previously is now scheduled to air 10 p.m.

Jeff Nichols talks 'Take Shelter'

Little Rock director Jeff Nichols talked to IndieWire in advance of Sundance about inspiration, influences and future projects

Marcus Lowe makes solo debut

After 20+ years of making music around town, Little Rock mainstay Marcus Lowe released his first solo album, "What Even Is That?," for free on Soundcloud.

Pay raise for judges sent back to committee

HB1063, which would have given judges a 1.86 percent pay raise - salaries for legislators and those in the executive branch were not increased - has been sent back to the Joint Budget Committee.

Back in the day

I was digging through our archives today and found this gem from 20 years ago.

Ross calls for bipartisan seating

Mike Ross signed a letter today, part of an effort led by Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colorado, to call for bipartisan seating during the president's State of the Union address.

Holmes named LRSD interim super intendent

After a brief executive session, the Little Rock School Board has named Morris Holmes the district's interim superintendent.

Greetings from Singapore

Max here, in Singapore, where a check of my email includes a note from Mayor Mark Stodola in response to my post on the city board's celebration of the fine job of the Airport Commission the other night in the confirmation of Stodola's reappointment of Bob East and Tom Schueck to five more years on the body.

Weekend: Lucero, Adema, Caspian Hat Dance

FRIDAY 1/14 Self-appointed "masters of the face-guitar and smack-smack drum" Caspian Hat Dance return to White Water Tavern, 10 p.m.

Friday To-Do: Honky

Hick-punk act Honky brings their trailer park hedonism back to Downtown Music Hall.

Weekend To-Do: Oaklawn Opening Weekend

That horse racing mecca known as Oaklawn opens for another season this weekend.

Weekend To-Do: 'Speech and Debate'

The Weekend Theater kicks off the new year with "Speech and Debate," a blunt, racy comedy about secrets, school and sex.

Saturday To-Do: Reckless Kelly

Austin's celebrated Reckless Kelly returns to Stickyz after a surprise-filled, sold-out show.

Saturday To-Do: Travis Porter

Up and coming pop-rappers Travis Porter "Make it Rain" in the Clear Channel Metroplex.

Guns, guns, guns

Republican Rep. Denny Altes, Cowboy-Fort Smith, tells the Democrat-Gazette that he believes Arkansas currently allows for open-carry for handguns because of a state statute that say that's it's a "defense to a prosecution" if a person is packing while on "a journey."

2nd Friday Art Night: ASI, Hearne, HAM, Mediums and more

The monthly art "strolley" includes nine venues tonight.

Don't forget to cheer for Miss Arkansas

Miss America returns to network primetime on Saturday at 8 p.m.

Turner retiring as head of Ark. Dem Party

The AP reports that Arkadelphia attorney Todd Turner won't seek another as chairman of the Arkansas Democratic Party.

Beebe makes highway commission appointments

Gov. Beebe announced today the appointments of Tom Schueck and John Burkhalter to the state highway commission.

Battle against Turk continues

The Sierra club and the Hempstead County Hunting Club, who have both fought SWEPCO's John W. Turk coal-fired power plant tooth-and-nail since the beginning, have filed an appeal with the Arkansas Court of Appeals to challenge the plant's air permit.


There's been a lot of to-do about missing moon rocks lately, with a lively back and forth on the Arkansas history listserv and stories in the Dem-Gaz.

Bagging on the bag ban

HB 1043 would ban stores from providing one-time use shopping bags to customers in an effort to encourage the use of reusable bags. Now comes a group called the Center for Consumer Freedom that opposes the bill, saying reusable bags contain large amounts of lead and are breeding grounds for bacteria.

BBC4 to air Sister Rosetta Tharpe doc tonight

Tonight, BBC4 is set to air "The Godmother of Rock & Roll," an hour-long documentary look at the life and legacy of Cotton Plant native (and rock legend) Sister Rosetta Tharpe.

8 Ball & MJG return to Revolution March 18

Southern rap godfathers 8Ball & MJG return to Little Rock on March 18.

Today on Twitter: 'True Grit' snubs, James Blake live, R.I.P. Trish Keenan

Today on @rockcandies: 'True Grit' snubs, James Blake live, R.I.P. Broadcast vocalist Trish Keenan.

Steele drops out UPDATE

RNC Chair Michael Steele, who decided to run for re-election to that post even after it became clear many in his part wished he would not, has dropped out of the running for RNC chair this afternoon after four rounds of voting showed he would not have enough votes to hold on to his post.

Let's open it up

Here you go. Have at it.

Morning musings

Airport director Ron Mathieu wouldn't be specific at the Airport board's finance committee meeting yesterday about a new air service coming into Little Rock.

No. 8 on the gun nut list: Boozman

So says the Daily Beast. Here's their stats: Gun Owners of America: A+ Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence: 0 out of 100 Press mentions: 139 In his words: “Attempts to undermine your Second Amendment rights come from every angle, including efforts to strip you of your legal rights to carry.

Poor Little Rich Girl fire

Poor Little Rich Girl: boarded up.

Interview with Jason Baldwin

Arkansas Times photographer Brian Chilson and reporter David Koon made trips to Varner and Tucker prisons yesterday to interview the WM3 — Damien Echols, Jessie Misskelley and Jason Baldwin.

Speaking sense

Craighead County Sheriff to the legislature: This is not the Wild Wild West. Jonesboro

Robert Scott Duncanson

An actor portrays the 19th century landscape painter at Hearne Fine Art.

It's 5:09 and time to open the line

Fire away.

We were robbed!

Miss Arkansas Alyse Eady was the clear winner tonight, but she lost to a piano-pounding, super-blonde Miss Nebraska.

Morning meat

To go along with your morning sausage, a story about women farming in Arkansas: Barbara Armstrong of Amstrong Beefalo Farm in El Paso was just interviewed on NPR about women in farming.

Brummett and Beebe

In his column today on Gov. Beebe's cautious steering of the ship of state and a Republican lawmaker's expectations that there will be enough fat found in the budget to cut taxes, Brummett notes that an interview he did with Beebe for Roby Brock's Talk Business will be aired at 10 p.m. tonight on Fox 16.

Sunday line

Post your thoughts here.

Remembering Dr. King

Remembering Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

About health care...

As Republicans gear up to vote on the "Repealing the job-killing health care law act," a new poll shows that although the nation is still split over health care reform - 40 percent support reform while 41 percent say they oppose it - the strength of the opposition is diminishing. Only one in four of those surveyed backed complete repeal of the law.

Talk Business sued UPDATE

Roby Brock's Talk Business Quarterly is being sued by Jon Kennedy, a graphic designer who did some work for TBQ until their ageement ended in Dec. 2009. According to Kennedy, Brock continued to use copyrighted designs after Kennedy's departure. Arkansas Business has more details.

Miss Arkansas wuz robbed

America knows who the real winner was.

NOT remembering Dr. King

Blue Arkansas compiles a list of schools that do not celebrate Martin Luther King Day.

"Women to Watch 2011"

Six women nominated for consideration for The National Museum of Women in the Arts "Body of Work" exhibit are showing work in Pine Bluff.

State Facebook page touts "Robert E. Lee Day"

The State of Arkansas Facebook page touts "Robert E. Lee Day." The post has sparked some heated debate amongst commentors.

ACLU break-in

Someone broke into the American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas offices between late Friday night and 3 p.m. Saturday, taking four computers and a small, undisclosed amount of cash, ACLU Executive Director Rita Sklar said Saturday afternoon.

Marade pics

Brian Chilson was on the scene at today's Martin Luther King Jr. Parade in downtown Little Rock.

Direct to Destin, from LRNA

Vision Airlines will announce tomorrow a direct flight service to Destin, Fla., from Little Rock National Airport.

'Museum Boom': Bloomberg cites Crystal Bridges

Alice Walton's museum, Eli Broad's, etc. on the list.

Cheney speaks

Tomorrow morning, "Today" on NBC will air an interview with former Vice President Dick Cheney.

Logan's Roadhouse to Bryant

Nashville-based Logan’s Roadhouse is opening its fourth location in Arkansas in Bryant on Monday, Jan. 24.

Open line

Slow holiday news day for us. Maybe you guys can stir up something on an open line.

Feed the addiction

It is, undoubtably, Girl Scout Cookie Time. Year after year the addiction is fed, just for a short amount of time.

Tuesday: Bonnie Montgomery, Echo Canyon, Dr. Steve Perry

Tonight's events include one radio show in front of a live audience, two Musicians Showcase semi-finalists, one "Bless the Mic" speaker and a whole lot of the hand jive.

House committees to vote on live streaming UPDATE

A number of House committees will likely vote this morning on whether to live stream their meetings. Revenue and Tax, Judiciary and Public Health committees all meet this morning at 10:00 a.m. There has been - unfathomably - a debate over whether to use live streaming technology that was installed in four committee rooms last year at the cost of over $300,000.

More Beebe

John Brummett interviews Gov. Mike Beebe about his political legacy.

Down is up

Sarah Palin defends her comments regarding the Arizona shooting. The White House steps up defense of health care reform. And Obama's approval numbers are up.

Robert Duvall to help salvage Billy Bob Thornton's career

Robert Duvall will star in "Jayne Mansfield's Car," the new indie film we told you about late last year.

What goes in grits?

That southern breakfast-time stapled beloved by many and cursed by Yankees divides diners left and right — draws more arguments for what goes into each steamy bowl.

Who's behind "The State of Arkansas" fan page?

A spokesperson for the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism says "The State of Arkansas" Facebook page is not affiliated with the state in any way. We wonder who is behind it.

Redrawing the lines

Legislators in the Senate State Agencies Committee started to tackle what could be a contentious and drawn-out process of redistricting.

No more blunts UPDATE

A bill filed this morning by Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson, R-Little Rock, would prohibit the sale of blunt wraps.

Arkansas man charged for iPad hack

A Fayetteville man was charged with fraud and accessing a computer without authorization after he and another man stole email addresses and other personal information from over 100,000 iPad users.

Razorback football schedule released

The Razorbacks' 2011 schedule was released by the UA Athletic Department today. Two Little Rock games again this year: Sept. 10 vs. New Mexico and Nov. 19 against Mississippi State.

Train's coming...

The results of the Union Pacific excursion train contest we mentioned a few days back are posted now, and The Little Rock Express won in a squeaker over The Tuscola Turn through Iowa and Illinois — 76,217 votes to 73,175 votes.

Letterman to hit on Alyse Eady

Miss Arkansas Alyse Eady will appear on the "Late Show with David Letterman" this Thursday night.

Child advocates speak against health care repeal

Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families issued a statement today condemning repeal of the health care reform bill passed last year.

And now, over to you

But a couple things before I go: No mo Joe?: Word on the street is Joe Lieberman might not throw his hat into the ring next time around.